Bafana Bafana forward Ruzaigh Gamildien says the mood was very sombre in their dressing room following their 2-0 loss to Sudan.
The national side failed to secure a spot at next year's Africa Cup of Nations after suffering defeat at Sudan in their final qualifier on Sunday,
The Swallows FC star was part of the team that could only register one point in their final two qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan.
"Ja...eish...ja...to be honest, we weren't mentally prepared," Gamildien tells KickOff.com.
"We never expected Sudan to come out guns blazing. I think we were caught napping in the first half because that's when they scored the goals. And they scored them right after each other which automatically put us on the back foot. So we had to chase the game, and for us to chase the game you know we also leave the door open.
"I can't just point at the defence because it's a team effort you know. So, we all responsible for the way we conceded the goals. But jaa...it's very unfortunate and disappointing to be out. Honestly, we let our country down, and it's something we need to take on a chin and hopefully dust ourselves off and try to qualify for the World Cup.
"Ja the mood was obviously down. We had a small meeting after the game. The coach thanked everybody that was in the camp...it was very difficult because we had everything in our hands and...we let it slip [sigh]. The coach he didn't point out anything except the fact that we lost. He didn't blame anyone he put the blame upon himself. Which is something I respect. Ja that's all he said, he just thanked everyone for the way we conducted ourselves in the camp."
Gamildien says they have learned their lesson going into the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, where they have been drawn in a group with Ghana, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia .
"Obviously we need to be mentally strong, especially when we play away games. We need to start trying to kill games at home so that it eases some pressure when we play the same team away."